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27th Alabama Infantry
Company Handbook
Standard Operations Manual

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Below is the Company Handbook given to all our new recruits. It explains a few of our
basic procedures, safety practices, and a list of things they will eventually need to purchase
in order to reenact.

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NEVER pull a ramrod at a reenactment unless it is during a weapons inspections and you are so ordered.

NEVER fire a weapon directly at someone closer than fifty feet... ALWAYS elevate at a 45 degree angle. The powder and paper can seriously injure someone at close ranges.

NEVER march or run with a loaded weapon unless it is on half-cock (this is the only safety on a musket).

NEVER let spectators and camp visitors fire a weapon.

NEVER try to forcibly take enemy colors or flags. You're asking for trouble... and you'll probably get it.

NEVER physically touch and "enemy" soldier in a battle. Again, you're asking for trouble.

NEVER fire a two banded musket or pistol from the rear rank... you can hurt somebody.

NEVER yell "Medic!" in a reenactment unless you are really injured. Most events will stop the battle immediately if you do.

ALWAYS make sure you have a full canteen when you fall in a formation. This is particulary important during hot weather. You don't know how long you'll be out there.

HELPFUL HINT If you are going to take a hit, make sure your cap pouch and cartridge box are closed and secure. Caps spill easily, and they're expensive when you lose dozens at a time. Also, keep your hand on your weapon when you fall... they can sometimes disappear.

ALWAYS make sure that when you're firing from the rear
rank that the ear of the man in the front of you is between the
second and third band of your musket. This position keeps
the percussion cap and muzzle from burning or deafening him. It's a good idea to alert him by saying "Coming Over" just
before you aim. Again, NEVER fire a two banded musket
or pistol from the rear rank.

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     The 27th Alabama Infantry is very informal. You just show up when you can. None of us can attend all events. We do try to get a handle on who can make the more immediate upcoming get-togethers, but that's generally to let sponsoring folks know how many of us to expect. Some events require a preregistration fee and some scenarios provide straw, food, powder, rations and the like, and our unit submits a roster that is used on site to get you registered. It's also helpful to us in picking a suitable camping site. Further, if there are new recruits showing up who don't have all their equipment, we can ensure that everyone is outfitted.
     We choose events we want to attend by vote of the troops. We put all possibilities we know of on the table and vote on them. One rule we have concerns galvanizing (joining yankees for a fight). We will, as a unit, galvanize on occassion. This is a requirement for our unit's participation in First Confederate Division events. Some events require Confederate units to galvanize for at least one battle, and we try to accomodate this request as it makes for a better, more realistic fight. Galvanizing is highly encouraged, but done on a voluntary basis. New recruits are strongly encouraged to buy uniforms and equipment that can be used for either Federal or Confederate impressions.
     Our Captain or Sergeant will, from time to time, send out information about what's happening. Our officers and non-commissioned officers are elected once a year by vote of the company. Nominations are put forth and elections are held in January. Elected officers serve for about a year. Annual company dues are $15 for full voting membership and $5 for associate membership

     You're going to be an infantry private. No two look alike. The costs indicated are estimates for new equipment, but you'll see that some used items sometimes can be had from sutlers at event sites. The bigger the event, the more the competition between sutlers, which means you can barter with them a bit,   particularly on the last day. Also, you can pick up items from individual soldiers, sometimes at bargain prices. You will be surprised, however, at how well reenactment equipment holds its value. But that means you can get your money back out of it. If you know a seamstress, you can aquire patterns cheaply, and make your own. Here's what you'll need, and the order you need to get it in. (NOTE: Your very first items should be a canteen, tin cup, tin plate and a spoon.)

- $65 - $85 Variety of colors and styles (get sky blue first)
     Galluses (suspenders) - $10 - $15
     Shirt - $20 - $25 Many varieties
     Hat - $20 - $30 Depends on preference for kepi, bummer, or slouch hat.
     Note: At this point you'll like an unarmed rebel, and will be set for warm weather weekends. Authentic footwear is not required, but is strongly recommended. Old army combat boots or work boots with a smooth toe will work. But if you want to be authentic then:
     Brogans - $90 - $100
     Socks - $5 - $10 Plain gray wool
     Coat - $70 up. You won't need one unless the weather is cool. Much variety... sack coat, shell jacket, frock coat, etc. Also many colors. You can find used ones at the sutlers. We've got some extras in the meantime.

     Now we get to accoutrements. You need a belt and buckle, a canteen, a leather percussion cap pouch, a leather cartridge box and a haversack. Here are common prices listed in catalogs:
     Canteen - $25 - $50 Get this first... you'll need it. Lotsa variety here.
     Tin Cup - $10 - $20 Depends on size and how it's made.
     Tin Plate - $10 - $15 You gotta eat.
     Spoon - $1 - $2 See above
     Cartridge Box - $40 - $50
     Cap Pouch - $15 - $20
     Waist Belt - $10 - $15
     Buckle - $5 -$15
     Note: You're now set up to fight witht the company musket. Next, though, you'll eventually need these.
     Haversack - $15 - $25 Plain or tarred (waterproof with liner). This is for rations, sewing kit, personal items, etc.
     Poncho - $40 - $45 Nice to have when it rains. Also, used for ground cover.

     New or used, this is the big item. You'll need a three-banded rifle musket. These are .58 cal. Enfields (most Confederates had these) or Springfield (Union issue, but Confederates picked them up quickly). Both used same ammo. Prices fluctuate wildly depending on manufacturer. Used Enfields can sometimes be found for about $250. Springfields are a couple pounds lighter and more expensive. We've got a couple extras that belong to members. These are made available to company members. These are made available to company members and recruits on a first-come, first served basis at events.
     Musket - $300 - $450 (see above)
     Bayonet and scabbard - $35 - $40

     This should be the last item you get. We have extra tents and you can easily double with someone who has one. Most of us have the infantry 'A' frame type that comfortably accomodates two soldiers, and there are many varieties. When we camp we usually put up the big tents, but you can go "campaign style".
     "Campaign style" is when you carry everything to the event in a blanket roll (we don't do this very often, but in warm, mild weather it's terrific). If you pick up a shelter half and end piece, you just team up with someone who's got the same thing and you've got a small pup tent that keeps you dry, but is cramped. Real Confederates went this way all the time (if they were lucky... most just had a blanket).
     A-Frame Tent - $150 - $200
     Shelter half - $20 - $25
     Shelter half end piece - $12 - $15
     Blanket - $30 up. I use old army blankets, and dye them blue, black, brown whatever. Old quilts are good, too.

     That's a quick breakout of the stuff. After aquiring these items, there are few expenses outside of gas and food. One exeption is powder and percussion caps. You'll learn how to roll your own blank cartridges. Powder costs about $10 per pound retail, but we buy it in larger quantities when possible and make it available at $5 - $7 a pound ( you get about 110 - 120 rounds out of a pound.. when you run out of ammo, it's time to become a casualty). You'll average about 25-50 shots pre battle, depending on how fast you load.
     We don't expect new recruits to run out and buy all this at once... some get a whiff and get it all, but realistically we understand what a heavy investment it is. We find, however, that if a recruit likes reenacting, that he'll want to get his own stuff as soon as he can. It takes some folks years to put it all together. In the meantime, we offer everything we can to help out, because the bottom line is the fellowship and good times that come out of it. You'll be surprised at how helpful we are on anything and everything you need... transportation, equipment, advice, tracing ancestors, etc. We've all been recruits once and know what it's like. If you need help, just ask.

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Manual of Arms
There are two parts to a command. The PREPARATORY command and the EXECUTION command. Basically, the preparatory command tells you what you're going to do, and the execution command tells you when to do it. The execution commands are underlined below.

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Attention, Company
Shoulder, Arms
Present, Arms
Shoulder, Arms
Order, Arms
Ground, Arms
Raise, Arms
Shoulder, Arms
Support, Arms
Shoulder, Arms
Fix, Bayonet
Shoulder, Arms
Charge, Bayonet
Shoulder, Arms
Trail, Arms
Shoulder, Arms
Unfix, Bayonet
Shoulder, Arms
Secure, Arms
Shoulder, Arms

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These positions are assumed with a loud, ferocious shout.
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Attention, Company.
Shoulder, Arms.
(Soldiers will load, prime, and with muskets at
half-cock, come to Shoulder Arms, unless
ordered other wise.)

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Fire by Company

(Soldiers will come to the ready, and fully cock their pieces.)
(Soldiers will aim their pieces.)
Note: The Aim command can be modified by ELEVATE, whereby the pieces are aligned with the first sergeant's musket. It can also be modified by RIGHT or LEFT OBLIQUE.
Fire! Designated soldiers fire at first sound of the "f" in Fire.)

Caution: The command may also be given to Recover Arms. The soldiers then come back to the ready without firing.

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Fire by File

Fire by file, Ready.
(All soldiers will come to the ready, and fully cock their pieces.)
(First file soldiers aim their pieces.)
Fire! First file soldiers (including first sergeant) commence firing, following rapidly (about one to two second intervals) by succeeding files. Note: Fire by files does not need to sound like a single shot, but fire of each file should be in rapid sequence, if not simultaneous (i. e., "pop pop"). The next file fires about one second after the first file, and so on downt the ranks. Unless otherwise commanded, following the opening shot, soldiers then load and fire at will as rapidly as possible. The purpose of this kind of fire is to put continuous fire on the enemy... by the time the last file has fired, the first file should be loaded and ready to continue firing.

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Fall Back